Meeting with WBC SEN, DCT and SENDIASS, Thursday 18th October 2018

Published on 24th October 2018 by Terri Walsh
Filed under: Council

REACH Wokingham met with Wokingham Borough Council 0-25 SEN, Disabled Children and SENDIASS teams on Thursday 18th October and discussed a number of issues that have been raised recently by parents.  The issues covered and responses from WBC were as follows: 

1.SEN Provision for children transferring to Year 7

We have been made aware that parents of SEND children have not felt welcomed by some schools in the area, especially those without an ECHP.

Response: WBC have written to all the schools and reminded them what their legal obligations are in supporting children with SEND. To which the WBC have received some very positive feedback from some schools. The SEN team will also be speaking directly to the schools we have highlighted. However, many of the schools are Academy Trusts so the LA does not have any jurisdiction over them. REACH Wokingham are seeking advice from Contact (the umbrella organisation that advises parent carer forums) to find out the best route REACH Wokingham can take to address issue.

2.Northern House

Parents are concerned over changes that have happened at the start of the new term.

Response: Once again this is an Academy Trust. WBC have had a number of meetings with Northern House and are currently waiting to hear the outcome of last weeks Ofsted inspection.

They will keep us updated.

3.EHCP timelines & final plan issues

Parents are concerned that EHCP’s are not being issued in a timely manner

Response: They apologise to parents for any delays. There has been a significant rise in the number of children with EHCP’s in the borough (currently now at 929, this was around 800 last year). Additional staff have been brought in to write plans and increase capacity. Further recruitment is planned for this service which they recognise is a statutory service.

4.Resource Base Review

Parents would like to know what is happening following the consultation earlier in the year.

Response: This review is still ongoing and WBC are planning meetings with all the Resource Bases, Special Schools and working closely with the DfE SEN advisor to develop a baseline formula for funding. They will keep us updated so that we can let you know what is happening. In addition WBC will investigate further the difference for children placed in mainstream with and EHCP vs those at the resource unit at the same academy trust school and ask schools to provide clearer definitions for parents.

5.Training required for SENCO’s & variation in SEN support across schools in the borough

Parents have commented that there is a variation in the skill set for SENCO’s and the level of SEN support you get at different schools across the borough.

Response: All SENCO’s now should be to be trained in The National Award for SEN Coordination- towards Masters level (although due to the natural movement of staff, some SENCOS will be learning while engaged on the job, they will still be on this programme of learning. In addition, as part of the SENCO Network cluster groups run by WBC, there are meetings lead by The Service Manager for SEN and The Principal Educational Psychologist, where additional training is provided with a Wokingham focus eg how to apply for an ECHP and the Local Offer. All SENCO’s in the borough are invited, including those from Academies.

REACH Wokingham now have monthly meetings arranged with the SEN, DCT and SENDIASS teams and we have left them with some additional questions that we ran out of time to discuss. We will ensure that we follow up on these.

Please continue to let us know any issues you have so we can discuss them with WBC. Please email reachwokingham@hotmail.co.uk.

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